“Antunes creates voices with a scrupulous, authorial neutrality. . . . He also has created a character in Senhor Francisco . . . as complex in his cunning, blindness, selfishness and casual brutality as King Lear.” Thomas McGonigle, The Los Angeles Times
The Inquisitors' Manual
978-0-8021-4052-4 • $15.00 • Paperback • May 2004
An international best-seller and the novel that established Antune’s reputation in Europe, The Inquistor’s Manual is a harrowing indictment of Portuguese fascism
António Lobo Antunes is one of the great European literary masters, a writer of whom The Boston Globe has said, “When Antunes is in full heat . . . he reads like William Faulkner or Céline.”
The Inquistors’ Manual chronicles the decadence not just of a family but of an entire societya society morally and spiritually vitiated by four decades of totalitarian rule. Senhor Francisco, a once powerful state minister and a personal friend of the Portuguese dictator Salazar, is incapacitated by a stroke, and as he spends his last days in a nursing home in Lisbon, he reviews his life and his loves. His son João, raised by the housekeeper, grows up to be good-hearted but totally inept, so that his ruthless in-laws easily defraud him of his father’s farm. The minister’s daughter, Paula, whom he had by the cook and who was raised by a childless widow in another town, is ostracized after the Revolution due to her father’s position in Salazar’s regime.
The emotional turmoil enveloping Francisco’s family finally catches up with him when the Revolution ends the forty-two years of the dictatorship, and the old regime tumbles like a castle of cards. Senhor Francisco, more paranoid than ever, remains a large but empty shadow of his seeming omnipotence. Drawing comparison to The Sound and the Fury and Moby-Dick, The Inquistors’ Manual is a fierce exploration of life under one of the worst dictators of the last century, and a modern classic.